How many times can the NSW Labor Government, the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), other government agencies or the big-time developers save the State’s frog population?
Whenever there is a controversial development, the spin doctors reach into their top drawer and produce a frog yarn and how it will be saved from extinction by caring, sensitive and environmentally-friendly development.
Because there has been a major community backlash against the plan to stage a car rally in the Tweed Shire on the Queensland-NSW border, the slippery croaker has emerged from the swamp to be rescued once again.
The pro-rally Tweed Daily News broke the frog scoop:
Organisers of the upcoming world car rally championship in Tweed and Kyogle have done their bit to help save an endangered frog living in the forest near Mt Warning.
They have re-routed the proposed rally, set for September, away from an isolated bridge in Cadell Road through Wollumbin National Park after being told the rare giant barred frog lived under it and could be affected in the unlikely event of an accident on the bridge.
This is the kind of tosh being served up by the promoters of the Repco Australia Rally to seduce the local residents into supporting the event which is going to turn roads in the sleepy shire into a screeching racetrack with thousands of out-of-town petrol heads descending from Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
The NSW Government has won the backing of the local Daily News and the weekly Sun by promising buckets of advertising and it has wooed the desperate business community with lucrative spin-offs if the taxpayer-subsidised event succeeds.
Incredibly, Tweed Shire Council general manager Mike Rayner has been given permission by Local Government Department director-general Garry Payne to join the rally’s board of directors in a non-remunerated role.
Rayner has dismissed concerns about a conflict of interest between his chief executive role on the council, his place on the Repco Rally board, the council staff he manages and the council processes he supervises.
The development application for the overall route will not be lodged later this month but residents have been told the race will be over 350km of roads in the Tweed and Kyogle shires.
The 60 super-charged cars expected to take part will be travelling at speeds of more than 120kph through the pristine national parks of Wollumbin, Mooball and he Richmond Ranges. Some local roads will be closed for up to five days each year for the event causing major disruption to residents, farmers and children going to and from school.
Local resident Dr Fiona McCormick complained in the local paper:
The organisers of the rally tell us it will boost the local economy; however, the reason they propose to run it here is that Western Australia no longer wishes to host it as it has done nothing whatsoever for revenue in that state.
Like the proposed car rally at the 2000 Olympics venue at Homebush, the financial arrangements between the government and the private promoters remain a closely-held secret. Commercial confidentiality, old boy. Melbourne’s rally squillionaire and Fairfax chairman Ron Walker knows all about that.